Bosses at Hucknall and Bulwell tram operator confident service will improve after 'difficult times'

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Tram bosses say they are confident services across the network to areas like Hucknall and Bulwell will become more dependable after a series of incidents led to the lowest-ever reliability rating.

The reliability and punctuality of the Nottingham Express Tram (NET) network during a two-month period beginning June 2023 to the end of July 2023 was 91.3 per cent and 91.4 per cent respectively.

During a meeting at Nottingham City Council on Tuesday, September 12, the adverse performance was discussed.

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The low reliability rating has been put down to a number of ‘serious incidents’, including the June 13 attacks and failing communications in July.

Tram operators NET are confident services to towns like Hucknall and Bulwell will improve. Photo: NETTram operators NET are confident services to towns like Hucknall and Bulwell will improve. Photo: NET
Tram operators NET are confident services to towns like Hucknall and Bulwell will improve. Photo: NET

Trevor Stocker, head of operations, said: “Certainly over this whole year in fact we’ve seen significant issues affect the tram network.

“I want to reassure the committee we are working hard on making sure we have got a safe and resilient network despite these things happening.

“We are putting every effort into making sure the best service is available to our customers.”

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On June 12, a points issue caused a tram to derail and crash with an overhead line pole on its approach to Bulwell tram stop.

The tram that was involved remains unavailable for use despite the incident happening in June due to the need for ‘significant repairs’.

In total 37 trams operate on the entire network, and 34 must be fully-operational at any one time to run a robust service.

Mr Stocker added: “We don’t have an infinite number, so that is a tram that is not available to us to be able to deliver services to customers.

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Only 10 per cent of services were available to run on the day due to the emergency services response in the city.

A few days later, on June 16, a man was stabbed on a tram at Highbury Vale.

Mr Stocker said: “It is important to note once we were able to run through, this tram remained unavailable to us for a number of days afterwards for a police investigation.

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“It required extensive, specialist cleaning, so again, with these things, once we have been able to start running through again there has been a further impact to that reliability because these vehicles have not been available.”

Further issues were also caused by a total loss of radio communications, which resulted in the complete suspension of services, in an incident on July 2.

The NET network is operated and maintained by a partnership of companies including Keolis and its subsidiary Nottingham Trams Limited (NTL).

This group of companies, or consortium, is known as Tramlink.

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Andrew Conroy, Tramlink’s chief operating officer said the service is ‘as good as it has always been’ if the external problems are removed.

He said 16 to 17 additional tram drivers have been recruited, which he says is ‘more than we have ever had’.

He added: “I’ve seen nothing but improvements in the last 12 months.

“I’ve got the utmost faith and confidence in the existing management team at NTL to get us through these difficult times we are having.”

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